The Reaper is turned into a Jammer, drones are spying on chickens in Australia, FAA rules for small UAS’s delayed again, UAV privacy questions remain, a new UAS Test Center in the UK, monitoring wildlife with a PUMA and the weather with a Global Hawk, FEMA shuts down Colorado UAV flights, and more multi-rotor’s come down in crowds.
General Atomics has fitted a Northrop Grumman jamming pod to an MQ-9 Reaper. The test flight occurred back in April during a U.S. Marine Corps weapons and tactics instructor (WTI) course, but has only recently been made public. Planned for the October WTI course is a demonstration with EA-6B Prowler electronic warfare (EW) jets and smaller unmanned aircraft.
Australian activists are concerned that some large free-range chicken farms are not in fact free-range. So for $17,000 they purchased a hexacopter, fitted it with an HD video camera, and flew it over the farms to document their claims. The group says this does not violate trespass laws.
An Insitu ScanEagle was expected to make the first commercial flight of an unmanned aircraft on September 11, under a restricted category type certification the FAA awarded in July. ConocoPhillips was to launch the ScanEagle from a research vessel in the Arctic Ocean west of Alaska to monitor whale migrations and ice flows.
The FAA’s release of a Notice of Proposed RuleMaking (NPRM) which would govern the operation of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) weighing up to 55 pounds has been delayed until early in 2014.
The standards being developed for sUAS over: UAV design, including command and control systems, batteries, production, quality assurance, maintenance, and continued airworthiness, the aircraft flight manual, and operations over populated areas.
ASTM International developed the initial standards for the FAA Aviation Rulemaking Committee that was chartered in 2008. That feeds the NPRM process which includes a mechanism for public comment.
The ASTM standards committee for large UAS was unable to make enough progress, so it’s mission was changed to minimum operational performance standards (or MOPS) for detect-and-avoid equipment.
Unlike the slow rule-making progress for commercial UAS, Government agencies (like law enforcement and public safety) can move quickly as a result of the March MOU between the FAA and the Department of Justice.
Two UK airports (West Wales Airport and Newquay Cornwall Airport) have launched a “National Aeronautical Center” (NAC) to develop, test and demonstrate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), both commercial and military.
NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations is testing the PUMA UAS in the Florida Keys to monitor wildlife without disturbing them.
NASA is flying two Global Hawks from Wallops Island over Hurricanes under the five-year HS3 (Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel) Mission.
The Falcon UAV was providing valuable aerial imagery of the recent tragic Colorado floods. However, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) has arrived with conventional manned aircraft and the Falcon was ordered to stand down.
A hexacopter comes down into a packed crowd in Spain, allegedly injuring several people. Meanwhile, in Dresden, Germany at a political party campaign rally, another copter came down in front of the podium.